Jonathan Galvez will hit for power. He has the frame to support it but sometimes will swing out of his shoes rather than looking for the line drive and allowing power to come his way naturally.
The focus for Galvez, however, has turned to small ball. He has speed and needs to use it more frequently. In an effort to make this happen, the staff asked him to bunt through his entire batting practice session.
Galvez was a bit mortified since he wanted to hit. His body language slowly turned to acceptance. Given a single pitch to swing through, he decided to drop down one last bunt. That willingness, even though he was a bit disappointed, showed his character and willingness to learn.
Afterwards, he acknowledged the need to bunt more.
"I need to use my legs more," Galvez said. "Bunting will help me do that."
He began to offer a bunt in his first at-bat on Monday but pulled it back since the pitch was a ball.
Knowing this, Dave Roberts has given him tutelage on the finer points of bunting. Valdez attempted one during batting practice but fouled it back.
Edinson Rincon, known for his ability to drive the ball in a run producing role, dropped a push bunt down to show Valdez how it was done. That earned some catcalls from the staff.
Valdez came back and dropped a beautiful bunt down the third base line on his next attempt, adding a smile.
Dave Roberts has taken the outfielder under his wing, giving him advice on hitting. One of the things that Doc Roberts wants to see from the talented Dominican is standing tall in the box. He has a tendency to drop his body forward. Once that happens, Liriano is committed to the pitch and almost has to swing. When he does offer, he is off-balance.
Roberts also spoke with Valdez about keeping his shoulders square to the baseball. He has a tendency to drop his back shoulder as the pitch is coming, giving him an upper cut swing.
By staying perpendicular to the ground, Valdez will have a better swing plane, giving his bat more time through the hitting zone and on a level plane.
"He does like to work backwards," catcher Griffin Benedict said. "He is really good when all four pitches are in the strike zone."
"I did talk to him about throwing off-speed pitches early in the game," pitching coach Bronswell Patrick said. "Establish your fastball and then pitch off that."
The right-hander out of Cuba worked in the 85-87 mph range with his fastball – when he threw it. His slider has some good movement and hovered in the 79-81 mph range. The curveball came in at 72-76 mph and his changeup was 80-82.
The fastball had a touch of movement and could be a quality pitch when spotted on the corners. This day, it was up in the zone and hit relatively hard.
His slider has plane and depth to it, changing the hitters' eye level with its 11-to-7 like action.
The curveball wasn't a great pitch this day, it can flatten out, known as hanging, and lose all semblance of movement.
The changeup was a quality pitch that he used at any point in the count with success. Most of his strikeouts came on the changeup and its precipitous drop.
Overall, he had some positives with the off-speed stuff. Hitters are learning to sit back and wait on that pitch. He needs to establish fastball command and fastball dominance. That means using the pitch more frequently down in the zone.
"I need to throw more fastballs," Sarria said through a translator. "My confidence in my fastball has been down. Once I am more confident in my fastball, everything will be good. In South Bend, I had confidence in my fastball and dominated the strike zone."
"He pitched a bit backwards today," manager Jose Flore said. "He came late and missed spring so he missed our spill on attacking with fastball command. He went a lot with his off-speed stuff and that got him in a little bit of trouble. When he was behind in the count, he went to his fastball. He has a pretty good fastball. Teams were looking for that pitch when he got behind."
The right-hander, taken as a draft-and-follow, underwent surgery and spent the last year and a half on the road to recovery. He pitched in just two games for the TinCaps before announcing his intention.
At his best, Miller tossed mid-90s with movement. He struggled grasping the changeup but had an improved curveball.
Jose DePaula has been called up from extended spring to take Miller's place, and likely his rotation spot, on the mound. DePaula threw a bullpen during the game.
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